NEW YORK: Brands risk wasting 50% of their media spend if they do not find ways of combatting ad fraud and verifying impressions, according to a leading executive from Mondelez International.

Mandar Paradkar, associate director/KNA analytics, consumer insights and strategy at the snacks company, discussed this challenge to the marketing industry at the Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) conference.

"Recently, the studies have suggested about 60% of those digital users or online users are fake," he said. (For more, including recommendations about proving payback, read Warc's exclusive report: Five tips for measuring digital ROI from Mondelez International.)

"So, suddenly, all those impressions that we were chasing after – and how effective and efficient they were – are not looking as exciting.

"In simple terms, that means 50% of media investment is going down the toilet."

Mondelez has moved to directly counter such problems, both by running programs to tackle ad fraud and ensuring its measurement processes grow increasingly robust.

"In a couple of years from now, we will be spending about 50% of our total marketing budget on digital media," said Paradkar. "So it's very sensitive for us.

"We've got better at it because there are solutions in place that can detect fraud ... And we've been cautious, but at the same time we've been aggressively spending and researching in this space to make sure that our media dollars are working really hard for us."

Such an imperative applies to all consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, as they attempt to keep pace with the changing habits of customers.

"Obviously, the CPG marketers have responded. They are on this bandwagon. And that is not a massive surprise, because that is where the mass of eyeballs are, and they are chasing it," said Paradkar.

But while the audience may be accessible, he warned against letting the hype surrounding many digital platforms disguise the fact that measurement remains at "an early stage".

"We are on a journey," Paradkar reminded the MRMW delegates.

Data sourced from Warc